April 17 - The London 2012 Olympic Torch is set to be resistant against all severe wind and rain during its 70 day journey around the United Kingdom following a period of intense testing at BMW's unique climatic wind tunnel in Munich, which has put it up against the world's most extreme weather conditions.
The state-of-the-art wind tunnel, known as the Energy and Environmental Test Centre, is normally used to examine the performance of BMW Group vehicles through three wind tunnels and two climatic test chambers because it is able to simulate hostile environments from around the world in a single laboratory.
With a temperature range of -20oC to +55oC, it can replicate the Arctic Tundra and the Sahara Desert, while the wind speeds of up to 280 km/h are greater than those generated in most hurricanes.
The facility can also replicate an altitude of 4,200 metres above sea level, four times the height of Britain's highest mountain Ben Nevis.
But it has been made available for London 2012 to test the Torch due to the fact that BMW are a Tier One Partner and the Official Automotive Partner of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As the Olympic Torch travels around the UK, it will have to stay alight in all British weather conditions including freezing temperatures at the summit of Snowdon, swirling winds on the Shetland Islands and inevitable summer showers.
But the Torch stood up to some extreme weather conditions at the BMW facility and the Olympic Flame remained lit despite enduring -5oC to +40oC temperatures, +35mph winds and driving rain.
Britain's double Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson experienced some of the conditions first hand as he stood in one of the wind tunnels with the Torch and he admitted that he was impressed by the testing.
"The Olympic Torch Relay is set to build excitement for London 2012 throughout the UK, so it's really important that the Torch can cope with our unpredictable British weather," said Thompson (pictured), one of the former British athletic stars being tipped to light the caldron at the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 27.
"Seeing the facility that BMW has and knowing the Torch has been tested so robustly makes me sure we're going to be able to build that excitement ahead of a brilliant summer of sport."
The Olympic Torch Relay will begin its 70 day tour on May 19, with a total of 8,000 Torchbearers set to carry the Olympic Flame within 10 miles of 95 per cent of the UK's population.
"The facility carries out around 15 hours of tests per day, allowing us to scrutinise all our vehicles and bring greater efficiency to the development of new cars from concept to the road," said Ralph Huber, the head of technology communications at BMW Group.
"By providing the facility to London 2012, we hope that we have helped play a part in the successful replication of a similar process for the Olympic Torch."
BMW Group will provide the official fleet of vehicles for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The fleet comprises a range of Efficient Dynamic, hybrid and zero tailpipe emission cars, motorcycles and bicycles to provide essential mobility for athletes and officials.
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